PABRADĖ TRAINING AREA, Lithuania –
When the 1st Battalion, 109th Field Artillery Regiment arrived in Lithuania recently to take part in U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s premier annual training exercise, all of the equipment the Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit needed for DEFENDER-Europe 22 was lined up and ready to go.
More than 900 pieces of fully mission capable Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 from the 405th Army Field Support Brigade was issued to the Army National Guard Soldiers from the 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, at a forward Equipment Configuration and Hand-off Area, or ECHA, in Pabradė, May 10-12.
This included M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, M992 ammunition support vehicles, M1068 command post armored vehicles, M107 palletized load system transporters, Humvees and more. All of the equipment was drawn from Army Field Support Battalion-Germany’s APS-2 worksite in Dülmen, Germany, and transported to the Pabradė Training Area for DEFENDER-Europe 22.
Staff Sgt. Brian McMichael is the supply sergeant for B Battery, 1st Bn., 109th FA. He said as a company-level supply noncommissioned officer he could not be more pleased with the ECHA operations and equipment issue at Pabradė.
“We arrived this morning, received a briefing by the ECHA team, and from there my commander and I walked the site and inventoried all the major end items while the rest of the Soldiers conducted preventive maintenance checks and services on the vehicles,” said McMichael. “The process they have in place works.”
Army Cpt. Ryan O’Connor, the company commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Bn., 109th FA, said his Soldiers received all of their equipment on the first day of issue.
“The equipment was immaculate,” O’Connor said. “You could tell [AFSBn-Germany] rehearsed the issue process very well. It was very deliberate, and all the questions we had were immediately answered. We were well taken care of.”
“We’re checking the equipment now to ensure its good to go,” said Spc. Austin Ostopick, a fire control specialist with C Battery, 1st Bn., 109th FA. “We’re checking all the fluids, the engines, the generators and all the tracks.”
“Honestly, it’s in better shape than the equipment we have back home. It’s been maintained very well. It’s better than what we have,” Ostopick said.
Calvin Harris, a support operations specialist with AFSBn-Germany and the ECHA lead at Pabradė, said the issue to 1st Bn., 109th FA is a three-day process. He also said AFSBn-Germany has a well-prepared, robust ECHA team on site that understands the mission and wants to support the Soldiers by providing them with fully mission capable equipment in a timely manner.
“We conducted our first day of issue yesterday, and we received nothing but high praise from the gaining tactical unit,” Harris said. “They were highly impressed with the equipment, and they are motivated to go out and conduct their missions as part of DEFENDER-Europe 22.”
"Exercises like DEFENDER-Europe 22 allow our team to practice projecting APS-2 equipment across the European theater – building combat power, enabling readiness and providing strategic capability on behalf of U.S. Army Europe and Africa and NATO," said Lt. Col. Rebecca Milkowski, the AFSBn-Germany commander.
"It’s impressive to witness our AFSBn-Germany and Dülmen APS-2 worksite team execute this highly complex mission after conducting months of planning and coordination with numerous mission partners," Milkowski said.
The Soldiers are ready participate in DEFENDER-Europe 22. They look forward to putting the APS-2 equipment to the test and sending rounds downrange, said O’Connor.
“I know my Soldiers are ready to get out there and do what they do best,” he added.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.